The above embedded video produced by the Institute for Justice tells the story of the Archdiocese of Newark in New Jersey. In an effort to raise funds to maintain their burial grounds, the archdioceses began selling headstones to parishioners. The practice raised the ire of headstone dealers, who sued to stop it. When the court ruled in favor of the archdioceses, the headstone dealers took their case to the legislature and got a law passed which prohibited the archdioceses from selling headstones.
The Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm, has taken up the archdioceses’ cause. Taking the case to federal court, they hope to strike down the law on constitutional grounds. They argue that the law exists for the exclusive benefit of a particular constituency.
Of course, that’s a pretty fair description of many laws on the books in every state in the union. Special interest cronyism has long been a pillar of the American system of government. The Institute for Justice hopes that success in this case will set a precedent for going after other laws which prohibit commerce only to benefit a particular constituency.